The past couple of weeks have been different for me. As many of you know, I had surgery 3 weeks ago to remove some more melanoma. It was a typical surgery, nothing about it that was tougher than the others I have had. But, for whatever reason, the recovery pains have been tougher. I have had to really back off my regular routines so that my body could have some time to heal. Needless to say I am not the best patient in the world and tried to do too much and now have extended my recovery time a bit longer. Not being able to get out and do my thing is tough, and staying home and behaving myself is even tougher.
However, having time at home has given me time to study my Bible a little bit more and it certainly has given me time to think and reflect. Sometimes I guess I don’t realize the fast pace I usually run from day to day and how little I get to think. It has been nice in a way. And one of the best parts of the rest has been the time to think and dream and plan on the 2006 mission trips to Honduras. I have had some time to really think outside the box and to explore new ideas that might be put into action this coming summer. I love having time to do this and I think I could get used to it but I don’t think this will last much longer, as soon as I am on the mend a little bit more I know I will be back in the fast lane once again.
One of the things I have been thinking about a lot is the recent events in and around the gulf coast. The tragedy and destruction that we have witnessed has been more than our country has ever seen. I have read with great interest Tim Hines’s blog about the ways different Torch members have come to Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi to volunteer to work. I have been so proud of all of you that found time to go (or planning to go) and put the training we have experienced in Honduras to work right here in the United States. I have also been jealous of you all as well, wishing more than I can express to be there in the work. I hate that my physical body has kept me from doing something that I wanted to do so badly.
Anyway, I have thought a lot about the incredible stories of heroism and acts of good will that have been told. Forget all of the negative stuff the news media wants us to hear, there has been some awesome stuff going on in the relief efforts. All across the country thousands upon thousands have donated money and supplies to the people who are in such need. People have donated personal items, bought new stuff, donated time, all for people they do not know. Sure, there is still a lot to do, but it is amazing to watch it all happen. Even though people love to point fingers at our government, and especially at our president, I find it amazing that we live in a country with such unbelievable resources. And the private sector, where huge companies and organizations are able to contribute so much, so quickly. And to see the church respond in such as mighty way. Leading the way, many times, into areas that make impressions and impacts that will be seen for weeks, months, or even years to come.
Then, my thoughts shifted to Honduras. To the people who live there. To a nation that struggles in ways only those of us who have been there could possibly know and understand. A country where the government has no resources to come to the aid of thousands of people who are hurting and in desperate need. To a country where citizens do not have insurance to protect their things. To a nation who does not have huge companies and organizations that can donate needed goods and services. To a country where its own people have not got the money to come to rescue in the time of need.
In Honduras the time of need is everyday. The crisis does not come in a horrible storm, sweeping away the riches of the people. It comes with the rising of the sun. People wake up searching for their next meal. Looking for a way to make enough money to feed their kids. Looking for a better scrap of tin along the side of the road to reinforce their roof. Seeking water to wash their clothes. Knowing that the Calvary is not coming. Knowing that they are on their own. And I think about how terribly sad that is. But, that is life in Honduras. Every day, every week, every month. Except, that there are those who do come. They come in small groups called mission teams. They bring supplies and buy food and lumber. They come to help. They come to minister, to bring the good news, they come to make a difference. That is what Torch Missions is all about.
In the next few weeks team leaders across the country will begin recruiting for the 2006 teams. Applications will go out and deposits will be turned in. And the task to start raising money for the trip will begin. I look at the generosity of our country and our people and our church during this difficult time and I wonder how it will be this year for our mission. After all, every year we start from square one raising money for our work funds to build houses, buy food, water purifiers, and collect clothes and supplies. I pray that we will have good success this year, that we will not be turned away from those who give to the cause. After all, there are people right now in Honduras that are dreaming of the day that help will come. They are praying right now that God will send relief, to send hope.
They say it will take months, possibly even a couple of years, to rebuild the gulf coast. To bring it back to where it was, or even to make it better. In Honduras, it has taken years of help and aid to get them to where they are, and it will take a long time to get them to where they COULD be. Mission work is a global effort. It really does take place in our own back yards, our own towns and parishes. In our own country. And it continues to take place around the world, including a small country in Central America called Honduras. And the church will lead the way, rolling up its sleeves, and getting down and dirty, working for the Lord in His kingdom.
Get ready, the 2006 campaigns are about to launch forth! It is going to be exciting!!! Blessings to you all, may your walk take you to where you really want to go. Working with you in the cause.